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APD reform was doomed from start

The public should find the latest Albuquerque Journal reporting by Elise Kaplan illuminating, “Monitor blasts APD for failure to police itself” (Nov. 7), as it confirms, yet again, the ongoing failure of the boondoggle known as APD reform. True to form, while taking no personal responsibility for this failure, Monitor James Ginger uses the media to remind the public, once again, how many years of successful “monitoring” he’s accomplished. If Ginger is as experienced as he believes, why didn’t he use his bully pulpit to inform the public, his employers, of the systemic flaws in the Department of Justice’s substandard Court Approved Settlement Agreement – centered on departmental bookkeeping vs. restructuring a criminal police department into community-centered and -led law enforcement?

True, the flaws in the DOJ’s CASA demonstrate a stunning level of incompetence: No finding of racism – in a system founded in racial hatred, in a border town, in a state founded in colonialism and currently (home to a U.S. military base). No establishment of an independent office of investigation within APD during (the) period of reform. Did no one at the DOJ ever hear of the folly of leaving the fox in charge of the hen house? No systemic provisions for institutional citizen-centered and -led policing – monumental failure, by design, and exemplified by the public charade of both the Civilian Police Oversight Agency and Community Policing Councils. And lastly, outside of the purview of the CASA but remaining in DOJ jurisdiction, no federal prosecution of any uniformed armed thugs masquerading as law enforcement.

… Finally, anyone observing the monitor over a reasonable period in public meetings and the courtroom can see for whatever reason … he has repeatedly confused diplomacy with obsequiousness.

Sadly, the monitor and the DOJ aren’t the only players at fault in this saga of chronic public abuse. The (Richard J.) Berry administration stacked the deck against the community by selecting insiders, not reformers, in the choice of monitor and executive director of the Civilian Police Oversight Agency, Ed Harness. …

Further systemic failure was institutionalized, when now retired Judge (Robert C.) Brack ill-advisedly condescended to give the Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association a place at the table in the courtroom.

The current City Hall continued this public abuse in using the facade of reform to make quid pro quo appointments of political cronies: former CPC Manager-Chris Sylvan, former APD Senior Advisor for Public Safety James Lewis, current APD Chief Policy Advisor/failed CASA co-author Damon Martinez.

The citizen policing councils, long ago co-opted by APD, remain fine examples of neighborhood associations, rather than conduits for the public to initiate reform of criminal policing.

Lastly, in an act of cynicism so extreme that it can only be considered corrupt, the current administration, under the pretense of public input, selected another insider as chief, now blackballed into retirement and replaced in the “interim” by another insider. … Who is this administration serving? Certainly not the public.

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